Do not place potted plants on antique rugs. Even planters with water basins can allow water to infiltrate the rug. Irreversible mildew damage can result.
Rugs that were accidently flooded need immediate attention. Smaller rugs can be hung on an outdoor railing or spread on a lawn to be dried by sunlight. Large rugs should be vacuumed with a water vacuum then dried with a hair dryer or space heater. It is advised to have the rug washed and dried professionally with a few days of the occurrence.
Many older rugs are made with lanolin-rich wool that has a stain repellent property. If something is spilled on a wool rug, often it can be blotted before stains occur. A moist, clean cloth used to blot from the edges to the center may be all that is needed.
If soap is necessary, hair shampoo can be used. Wool and human hair have similar protein makeup. Red wine may require an unscented mild soap or one to two teaspoons of white vinegar diluted, in a quart of water, to remove. Do not use apple cider vinegar.
Scrubbing will embed stains into fibers. Use a box or stool to elevate the area that is damp. Air dry, using a fan, for 24 to 48 hours. This process dries the rug as quickly as possible. The pile and foundation need to be dry. Carpets that sit damp for a long time are in danger of foundation rot. Using other home remedies can cause irreversible discoloration. Chemicals are never to be used. If blotting or the solutions suggested here do not remove a spill or stain, call a professional.